The main characters in Friends were a tight-knit group, and their friendship went through many ups and downs, but there were many times where Rachel was a terrible friend to Monica. Friends debuted on NBC in 1994 and came to an end in 2004 after 10 seasons, in which viewers got to know the characters quite well. The series followed a group of six friends (Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross, and Joey) living in New York City and doing their best to balance their personal, social, and professional lives along with all the struggles that come with adulthood.
Friends is regarded as one of the greatest TV shows of all time and its fan base continues to grow thanks to the world of streaming – and because it continues to be quite relatable. The series did a good job in portraying the many sides of friendships: the great times, the sad times, and everything in between. Over the course of 10 seasons, the group overcame many arguments and fights which ultimately helped their relationships grow stronger, but there were other times where bad actions were ignored, like most of the times Rachel was a horrible friend, especially to Monica.
Monica and Rachel had known each other for years prior to the pilot episode of Friends, but lost contact for a long time. They became friends again when Rachel ran away from her wedding and moved in with Monica, but their friendship was far from perfect, and Rachel did Monica wrong many times.
Aside from being a pretty lazy roommate (she can’t cook, clean, and hardly ever helps around the house), which can be attributed to her living a very comfortable life since she was born, Rachel didn’t really know how to be a good friend, especially to Monica. An early example is in season 2’s episode “The One After The Superbowl, Part 2”, where they meet Jean-Claude Van Damme on the set where Marcel (yes, the monkey) is working. Monica is a huge fan and is too intimidated to talk to him, so she sends Rachel – but the latter ends up flirting with him and agreeing to go out with him, knowing that Monica has a big crush on him. To make matters worse, Rachel lets Monica go out with him, but not before telling Van Damme that it’s because Monica wants a threesome with him and Drew Barrymore, and Rachel never understood why Monica was so angry about the whole thing.
The most memorable example is, perhaps, the episode “The One With Monica’s Thunder”, where Rachel, as the title suggests, steals Monica’s thunder by kissing Ross on the night of her engagement celebration. Rachel stole Monica’s thunder again in “The One After I Do”, when Phoebe and Monica learn that she’s pregnant, and instead of focusing on Monica and Chandler’s wedding, it’s all about Rachel once again. Last but not least, when Rachel can’t find a good name for her newborn baby, it’s mentioned that Monica has already picked the names for her future children, and Rachel asks what the girl name would be, promising not to steal it. Monica tells her it’s “Emma”, and Rachel loves it. Though Monica agrees to let her use it, she could have gone for a different one as she knew that Monica had always dreamed of being a mother and had those names planned for years.
Though Rachel changed a lot in 10 seasons and became less self-absorbed and more independent, she never fully understood what being a friend – let alone someone else’s “best friend” – was about, and was lucky enough to have someone like Monica by her side who forgave all those times she was a truly terrible friend to her.